Pune is the second largest city in the state of Maharashtra in India. It serves as the cultural capital and houses the Pune division. Pune is known for having a large concentration of students, making it the center for nightlife and adventure.
Despite being an educational center, Pune has a rich history dating from almost 1600 years ago. It is said that Pune traces its roots from around the 5th century as evidenced by the Pataleshwar caves locared near the Jangli Maharaj Road. According to some local historians, Rashtrakut kings constructed a Shiva temple known as Punyeshwar. The temple was badly damaged during the Sultan’s war on Pune in the 13th century.
Also referred to as the “Oxford of the East,” Pune has a ton of colleges and educational institutions that offer various degrees ranging from medicine to engineering and from science to the arts. These educational centers not only serve students of India but also foreigners.
Due to the influx of students from different parts of India and abroad, the economy of this small city is starting to pick up. There are major IT companies, pharmaceutical office setting up their offices in Pune. In fact, it is also an automobile hub home to several automobile companies like General Motors, Mercedes-Benz, Bajaj, Volkswagen and Tata Motors.
Pune has an estimated population of 6,226,959. With a total area of 270.3 square miles, it has a population density of 17,000 per square mile.
Located in the Maharashtra state, locals are largely made up of ethnic Marathi or Maharashtrians.
The dominant religious group in Pune is Hinduism. Other religious groups in the city include Muslimes, Jains, Sikhs, Christians and Buddhists. This is the reason why the city also has a wide variety of places of worship like churches, mosques, temples and synagogues.
Pune is a cosmopolitan city with Marathi as its official language. Most of the residents also speak English and Hindi.
From being a conservative and traditional city, Pune has evolved to become a liberal city along with its economic developments.
Pune is an embodiment of the Marathi culture. Many of the city’s thrusts are centered on the cultivation of education, music and theatre, and arts and crafts.
The city has a host of auditoriums like Tilak Smarak Mandir, Balgandharva Ranga Mandir and Yashwantrao Chavan Natyagruha. All of these are primary venues for commercial theatre acts.
Marathi music is celebrated in prestigious festivals like the Sawai, Vasantotsav and Swaranzankar.
Pune food is characterized by the use of Pearl millet and Sorghum as main ingredients. The specialty of the city includes the dessert bread Puran Poli, Misal Pav, Panipuri, Pithla bhakri, Pav Bhaji and Bhelpuri.
The thick milkshake with a dried fruit, Mastani is also one of the local favorites.
Pune street foods are dominated by the Vada Pav, Poha and Dabeli.
Pune’s climate is classified as hot semi-arid. It has three seasons – summer, monsoon and winter. Summer seasons can be hot with temperatures reaching 107.6 Fahrenheit. But it does not feel as hot since the air is cool owing to its high altitude. April is the warmest month in Pune.
Monsoon seasons starts in June and ends in October. The city experiences moderate rainfall, with temperatures ranging from 72 °F to 82 °F. Winter occurs in November and often coincides with the Diwali Festival.
The city has city buses operated by the PMPML. The buses have an extensive network that almost each nook and cranny of the city can be accessed. Fares depend on the distance covered but they typically range from Rs 5 to Rs 22.
Auto rickshaws are also a popular mode of transport in Pune. Rates follow what are indicated on the tariff card.
Pune is also known to have a huge number of motorcycles plying the roads. In fact, there are more motorcycles than cars in the city.
Heading to the suburbs of Pune may be via the Pune Suburban Railway, which connects the city to the small town of Lonavala. It has only one line and 17 stations.
Residents, particularly, students often use taxis or Uber as their primary mode of transport.
Places of Interest
The City of Pune has a multitude of good museums, magnificent hill forts and distinct restaurants. Some of the places worth visiting in Pune include:
- Aga Khan Palace
- Bhimshankar Wildlife Sanctuary
- Bund Garden
- Chatushrungi Mata Temple
- Dagduseth Halwai Ganesh Temple
- Darshan Museum
- Fergusson College
- ISKCON, Katraj
- Mahatma Phule Museum
- National War Museum
- Parvati Hill
- Pataleshwar Caves
- Pune University
- Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum
- Saras Baug
- Shaniwar Wada
- Sinhagad and Khadakwasala
- Tribal Museum